Honda NSX: The knowledge

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Ahead of the first customer deliveries of Honda’s all-new NSX, the Japanese OEM has released further details on the car’s ‘Instant response’ concept. Combining powertrain and chassis technologies, Honda claims it has been able to give the NSX a truly ‘driver-focused experience’

Honda also statest that ‘of greatest significance’ to the car are the advanced power unit, active all-wheel drive system, bespoke nine-speed dual-clutch transmission, and the ultra-rigid chassis.

“Our engineers explored new technologies to create a car that redefines supercar performance, delivering a vivid and intuitive experience that places the driver at its centre,” said Ted Klaus, chief engineer and global development leader of the new NSX. “As a result, the NSX epitomises the new sports experience, delivering class-leading performance with instant acceleration and exhilarating, confidence-inspiring driving dynamics.”

Powerunit: 

Foremost among its many innovations is Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD). The combination of technologies incorporated within the NSX’s Sport Hybrid SH-AWD power unit delivers virtually zero-delay performance. At the heart of the new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is a mid-mounted twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 gasoline engine, mated to an all-new nine-speed dual clutch transmission (9DCT) and a Direct Drive Motor. This is augmented by the front-mounted Twin Motor Unit (TMU), which provides independant drive force to each front wheel meaning the NSX benefits from active all-wheel drive.

The new nine-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (9DCT) produces almost instantaneous gear changes with the Twin Motor Unit maintaining drive during the shift to create a direct and seamless shift quality.

In order to provide instant throttle response, the Direct Drive Motor acts directly on the engine’s crankshaft. Working in unison with the engine via a sophisticated algorithm, the direct drive motor contributes to a direct, linear, and continuous acceleration performance that is unmatched in its class.

The TMU contributes significantly to the NSX’s amazing traction, supports regenerative braking, and “pro-actively” generates a yaw moment in support of steering inputs through Honda’s Direct Yaw Control.

From a standing start, the TMU provides instant torque as well as all-wheel drive traction, enabling direct and controlled acceleration. When braking into a corner, the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD uses the TMU to decelerate, working in conjunction with the NSX’s mechanical brakes, while Direct Yaw Control delivers immediate and precise turn-in performance. When exiting a corner, Sport Hybrid SH-AWD enables the throttle to be applied earlier and with more confidence.

The use of these systems together conveys the sensation that the car is anticipating the driver’s inputs. The system is able to elevate the driver’s confidence and their perceived driving capabilities, thus maximising the NSX’s man/machine performance and dynamic enjoyment.

The character of the NSX’s dynamic performance can be tailored to the driver’s preference via the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS). Four selectable dynamic modes – Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track – unlock a wide range of new experiences by adjusting the vehicle’s dynamic responses , including the steering, brakes , throttle, active dampers, intake and exhaust sound and notably the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD power unit.

Thermal management:

As part of the total airflow management approach, the NSX’s exterior design also provides highly efficient thermal management required by its hybrid powertrain. There are seven different primary heat sources – the 3.5-litre V6 engine, two turbochargers, the nine-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), the Power Distribution Unit and the two motors within the Twin Motor Unit. To provide efficient cooling to each of these elements, airflow is managed through 10 different heat exchangers.

Openings at the front of the vehicle supply cooling airflow across the key heat exchangers located within the front section – front engine radiators, twin motor unit cooler, condenser, transmission gear cooler and hybrid Power Distribution Unit. Air flowing over the roof and down the rear hatch glass is captured to feed the transmission clutch cooler and further facilitate engine bay cooling.

This holistic approach significantly contributes to a supercar that faithfully translates the inputs of the driver with incredible fidelity and zero delay, while minimising the driver’s workload. These qualities together define the New Sports eXperience.

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About Author

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine of the Year Awards.

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